California Proposition 77, Rules Governing Legislative Redistricting (2005)

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See also: Redistricting in California
California Proposition 77 was on the November 8, 2005 special statewide ballot in California as an initiated constitutional amendment where it was defeated.

The purpose of Proposition 77 was to change the way that legislative re-districting is done after every decennial census. Instead of the legislature re-drawing political boundaries, Proposition 77 proposed that the boundaries be re-drawn every ten years by a panel of three retired judges.

Political reformers who wanted to change the process of how legislative lines are re-drawn every ten years were disappointed in 2005, but got their wish in 2008 when voters approved Proposition 11.

California voters had considered and rejected other re-districting ballot propositions in the past, including Proposition 118 in 1990.

Proposition 77 was one of a quartet of ballot measures on the 2005 ballot that were the centerpiece of Arnold Schwarzenegger's reform plans for California, two years into his governorship. The other three were Proposition 74, Proposition 75 and Proposition 76. The defeat of all four Schwarzenegger measures is frequently cited as a turning-point in Schwarzenegger's governorship.

Over $30 million was spent on campaigns for and against Proposition 77.[1]

Election results

Proposition 77
Result Votes Percentage
Defeatedd No 4,641,633 59.8%
Yes 3,130,541 40.2%
Total votes 7,772,174 100.00%
Voter turnout Of registered voters: 50.1%

Constitutional changes

California Constitution

If Proposition 77 had been approved, it would have amended Section 1 of Article XXI.

Text of measure


The ballot title was:

Redistricting. Initiative Constitutional Amendment.


Vote result map for Prop 77.gif

The question on the ballot was:

"Should the California Constitution be amended to change the process of redistricting California's State Senate, State Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, transferring the implementation of redistricting from the Legislature to a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders?"


The official summary provided to describe Proposition 76 said:

  • Amends process for redistricting California’s Senate, Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts.
  • Requires panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders, to adopt new redistricting plan if measure passes and after each national census.
  • Panel must consider legislative, public comments/hold public hearings.
  • Redistricting plan effective when adopted by panel and filed with Secretary of State; governs next statewide primary/general elections even if voters reject plan.
  • If voters reject redistricting plan, process repeats, but officials elected under rejected plan serve full terms.
  • Allows 45 days to seek judicial review of adopted redistricting plan.

The ballot title for Proposition 77 said,"Should the California Constitution be amended to change the process of redistricting California's State Senate, State Assembly, Congressional and Board of Equalization districts, transferring the implementation of redistricting from the Legislature to a panel of three retired judges, selected by legislative leaders?"

Fiscal impact

See also: Fiscal impact statement

The fiscal estimate provided by the California Legislative Analyst's Office said:

  • One-time costs for a redistricting plan. State costs totaling no more than $1.5 million and county costs in the range of $1 million.
  • Potential reduction in costs for each redistricting effort after 2010, but net impact would depend on decisions by voters.


Website art from the "Yes on 77" website


The official voter guide arguments in favor of Proposition 77 were signed by:

  • Edward "Ted" Costa
  • Arnold Schwarzenegger
  • John A. Arguelles, a former justice of the California Supreme Court
  • John Kehoe, a policy director with the California Senior Advocates League
  • Julie Vandermost, president of the California Women's Leadership Association
  • Nativo Lopez, president of the Mexican-American Political Association[2]

Arguments in favor

Supporters of Proposition 77 made these arguments in its favor in the state's official voter guide:

  • Proposition 77 would "Guarantee fair election districts for Californians. Give voters the final say in the process. Reduce special interest influence and money in politics."
  • "California’s flawed election system allows partisan politicians to draw the boundary lines of their own districts—splitting up towns and even neighborhoods for personal gain. The result: there is no accountability because the incumbents rig the districts to ensure they have NO serious competition, guaranteed re-election, and are NOT accountable to voters."
  • "It used to be that voters picked their politicians—now politicians pick their voters."
  • "When politicians are not accountable to voters, they become accountable only to their special interest campaign contributors. That’s why we still have record deficits, unbalanced budgets, out of control spending, and calls for higher taxes, year after year."
  • "Wouldn’t it be better if legislators would work to improve education, cut wasteful government spending, eliminate bureaucracy, and balance the budget once and for all? But that won’t happen until our elected officials start paying attention to us. Under the current system, they only pay attention to their campaign contributors. It’s time for a change."
  • "Neighborhoods and communities will matter again. Incumbents will no longer be able to draw their own districts, splitting up towns and neighborhoods in an effort to guarantee their own re-election."[2]


Website art of the "No on 77" campaign


The official voter guide arguments opposing Proposition 77 were signed by:

Arguments against

Opponents of Proposition 77 made these arguments against it in the state's official voter guide:

  • "Don’t be fooled! Read the fine print. This undemocratic and unfair redistricting scheme has huge loopholes."
  • "Voters lose their right to reject redistricting plans before they go into effect."
  • "Politicians select the judges to draw their districts for them."
  • "Only 3 unelected judges will decide everything. That’s not fair or balanced."[2]

Campaign finance

Campaign cash Campaign Finance Ballotpedia.png
Category:Ballot measure endorsements Support: $12,269,608
Circle thumbs down.png Opposition: $18,468,522
Total: $30,738,130

Donors in favor

Five different campaign committees formed to urge a "yes" vote on Proposition 77. Altogether, these groups spent about $12.2 million.[1],[3]

Some of the larger donors to the "yes" committees were:

Donor Amount
Steve Poizner for Insurance Commissioner Campaign $1,250,000
California Chamber of Commerce $802,000
California Republican Party $799,000
Steve Poizner $500,000
Alex Spanos $500,000
David Woodley Packard $499,900
William Bloomfield $450,000
John Doerr $425,000

Donors against

Five different campaign committees spent money opposing Proposition 77. These groups spent a total of $18,468,522.[1] Some of the larger donors to these campaign committees were:

Donor Amount
Stephen Bing $4,000,000[4]
Shangri-La Entertainment $3,000,000
California Democratic Party $1,099,506[5]
American Family Voices $375,000
Susan Ragon $250,000
Anne Earhart $200,000
Association of Trail Lawyers of America $200,000
AFSCME $111,431

Path to the ballot

Signature collection

See also: California signature requirements

As an initiated constitutional amendment, 598,105 valid signatures were required to qualify Proposition 76 for the ballot. The petition drive for Proposition 76 was conducted jointly with the petition drives for Proposition 74, Proposition 75 and Proposition 76 by three different petition drive management companies.

The petition drive management companies involved were:

Altogether, the three companies were paid $7,876,472.40. Dividing this across the four propositions involved means that approximately $1,969,118.10 was spent collecting signatures on the individual propositions in the Schwarzenegger package.

See also: California ballot initiative petition signature costs

Lawsuit about signatures

  • On July 21, 2005 Superior Court Judge Gail Ohanesian ruled that the qualifying signatures for Proposition 77 were gathered illegally and ordered it removed from the ballot. The basis for her decision was that Proposition 77 supporters had submitted one version of the measure to the California Attorney General to use as the basis for preparation of the official ballot title but used a different version on the petition forms that were circulated for signatures.
  • On August 9, the Court of Appeal ruled that the discrepancies between the two versions of the initiative constituted "a clear violation of the constitutional and statutory procedure for the circulating of an initiative petition."
  • On August 12, the California Supreme Court ruled that "it would not be appropriate to deny the electorate the opportunity to vote" on the measure, thereby placing Proposition 77 back on the ballot.[6]

See also

External links

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